Stephen Hofmeyr QC is a leading commercial barrister with a wide-ranging international commercial law practice.
He is described in the leading legal directories as “one of the commercial Bar’s best all round counsel” with a “keen eye for detail”, “a heavyweight in this field” widely regarded as “one of the nicest insurance silks at the Bar” and one who “fights his corner very hard”. He is very much a “team player”, operates an informal “hands-on” approach and is very accessible.
His relatively unique combination of legal and accounting qualifications has equipped him to specialise in all aspects of commercial law and make him particularly suited to complex disputes.
With a strong sectoral focus across a wide range of practice areas, Stephen’s expertise in commercial law ranges from complex commercial contract disputes, to related company law claims, both for individuals and corporate clients, in particular, shareholder disputes and claims against directors.
Stephen Hofmeyr QC’s substantial diet of work includes key areas of practice for chambers, as mentioned above, as well as professional negligence disputes. His transport sector experience encompasses, aviation, rail, shipping and related commodities claims.
He is currently involved in a Ukrainian oligarch fraud dispute coming to a hearing in the autumn; is advising a major provider of Business Interruption Insurance who is not participating in the FCA Test Case; and is also advising on specific BI insurance claims. Two other current topical areas on which Stephen is advising are Nox and CO2 emission limits (and mitigating steps) and the design and construction of LNG vessels.
His 2019 saw him act in litigation which saw the unprecedented step of an appellate order for complete re-trial before a different Commercial Court Judge – undoubtedly a unique and trailblazing success, and justifying the warm praise he has received in the legal directories
The primary focus of Stephen’s practice is advocacy, but he is equally adept, and skilled, in his advisory practice, which is significant. With strong experience in the direction and conduct of long commercial trials and international arbitrations, he has proven his ability to assimilate and distil complex facts, and shows a mastery of difficult technical issues, lengthy examination of witnesses, tactical skill, and detailed and meticulous planning and preparation.
No less crucially, he is expert in interlocutory hearings and short appearances before first instance or appellate courts (which generally demand careful legal analysis, tactical appreciation and common sense).
He appears most frequently in the Commercial Court in London, in international arbitrations (SCMA, ICC, ICSID, LMAA, LCIA and other arbitration courts) and on appeal from these tribunals to the Court of Appeal, the Supreme Court and the Privy Council.
Increasingly, Stephen sits as an arbitrator, having received over 200 appointments in recent years.
He has also acted as an expert on English law in proceedings in various States of the USA and in the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland and Singapore; and in international arbitrations.
He has also appeared in the Supreme Court of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, in the Court of Appeal of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court and in the Privy Council sitting in the Bahamas. Complex, long-running, substantial and technical on-shore and off-shore energy, rig, FPSO and shipbuilding litigation and arbitration, with the subject matter covering power stations, pipelines (sub-sea and land based), ships, rigs, FPSOs, facilities and equipment, through all stages from construction to decommissioning, involving expert evidence, in highly complex and time-consuming cases, with heavy factual and expert evidence.
As an example of the breadth of his practice, Stephen represented underwriters in a high value patent infringement insurance arbitration; a large construction company in a number of related disputes with insurers arising out of the construction and development of waste management facilities and the provision of waste-to-energy management services across northern England; and also appeared in the Privy Council representing directors in a shareholder dispute, demonstrating his equal skill with marine and non-marine disputes alike.